April 11, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act, the Black Community Clergy and Labor Alliance, an alliance of Black leaders in Los Angeles, sent a letter regarding Sen. Scott Wiener's failure to accept the group's invitation to attend a forum in South Los Angeles so that the Senator could hear directly from the Black people who would be most harmed by his draconian housing bill, SB 827. (See our previous post about his failure: Scott Wiener Refuses to Discuss SB 827 with South LA Community)
In addition to stating their firm opposition to the bill, which has been labeled as "Urban Renewal 2.0," the Black alliance calls on Wiener, Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Transportation and Housing Committee Chair Jim Beall withhold any hearings on the bill until "Wiener attends a forum hosted by the Black Community Clergy and Labor Alliance and the broad coalition of groups in South Los Angeles we’ve been working with to speak directly to the residents bearing the great burden of the housing affordability crisis, who would be most adversely impacted by his bill SB 827."
The full letter is attached. Here are just a few excerpts:
"Sen. Wiener’s refusal to meet with our Black alliance and impacted South L.A. community members is a particular affront since he frequently asserts that SB 827 is a remedy to racially discriminatory housing policy. If one truly believes that, then why would he not seek to meet our Black alliance to solicit our support and hear from our Black community members? Members of our Steering Committee were on the front lines of the civil rights movement and continue to hold the line today. Members of our Steering Committee literally put their lives on the line facing down racist cops, crazed mobs, dogs, firebombs and water hoses as we struggled in the Jim Crow South to desegregate public spaces and communities. Others may talk about this history, some may even write books about it, but we actually lived it."
"Despite the corporate media’s inexcusable failure to report it, the fact is the chief sponsors of the morally bankrupt bill, SB 827, are the leading perpetrators of the racist policies and agenda of displacement and gentrification. Despite the well-documented discriminatory practices of banks, developers, real estate speculators, realtor associations, and apartment owner associations, which continues to this day, without blushing Sen. Wiener asserts that unleashing these forces on urban communities of color throughout the state through SB 827 is a step towards racial progress. We do not for a second believe that our long-time oppressors are now our liberators. It is an insult to your own intelligence and to our history of struggle to suggest that the powerful financial interests that every day evict us, engage in predatory lending, and rob us of our limited wealth is suddenly in favor policies to break up their lucrative system that profits from our continued oppression and exploitation."
"[T]here is nothing courageous, new or innovative about advancing land grabs and economic exploitation. For America, it is a long road that began in 1492 and sped up in 1619."
"Unfortunately, the sad truth is that Sen. Wiener is not the first to misappropriate the history of Black suffering to push an agenda specifically intended to harm Black people."